The Importance of Celtic Culture in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Essay

The Importance of Celtic Culture in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight Essay

Length: 1481 words (4.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Importance of Celtic Culture in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

    In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, one can discover a variety of reasons why the Green Knight is indeed green.  Some can be found in open text while others one has to search for.  There is possibly another aspect involved in the holly leaf he carries in his first appearance.  The deeper aspect of the Green Knight is how he ties into the beliefs and culture of the Celts.


The most obvious reason why the green knight is green are stated throughout his introduction.  "Fellow, and his hands were green, and his face.  And his armor, and his shirt, were green, all green...everything about him was elegant green" (line 150-55,66). Every piece of clothing that the Green Knight is in is green.  His skin color was green and he was elegantly dressed in all of it. This gigantic man was the total opposite of Arthur's Knights.  They were smaller and clean-.  The Green Knight had a manly beard to symbolize Celtic culture.  He rides in on his great green horse!  "He seemed half an ogre, a giant, but clearly the biggest creature in the world" (line 141-42). The most frightening thing any of the Knights of Camelot could ever see.  The combined aspect of being green and a giant to the knights is what makes him so frightening.


Not only the great knight is green but his horse too!  "It was carved with lovely green symbols...what it meant that a knight and his horse could have such a color, could grow as green as grass, or greener!" (lines 216 233-235).   Today in many cultures "different" people are always striking fear into people. He is dressed in all green with his Celtic symbols surrounding him.  If any man represented their religion to the fullest i...

... middle of paper ... not worthy to fight him.  They don't have any beards and in his religion would be considered feeble and unrespectable.  He demonstrates his strength the entire scene he is talking with Arthur and his knights.


The Green Knight is the perfect representation of the Celtic culture 

He is protected by his Celtic magic from the holly branch and the power of the god Cernunnos.  This enables him to be strong in his own beliefs and to challenge the Christian Knights.  The author created the Green Knight based on factors that all lead up to the perfect representation of the Celtic people.


Works Cited


"Coverage of Youth Crime Promotes Fear, Study Says."  (Online) Available

   1 Dec. 2001.

Wood, Juliette.  The Celts  New York: Duncan Baird Publishers, 1998.


Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Analysis Of The Poem ' Sir Gawain And The Green Knight '

- The characteristics that heroes hold are highly influenced by the culture that they come from. In the poem "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight", the hero Gawain represents the Celtic culture and the views that the ancient Celts held for heroes. The characteristics that Gawain possesses are humble, focused, brave, loyal, virtuous, and religious. Within the poem, the trials that he undergoes, and the events in the journey that are faced are influenced immensely by the characteristics that he has, some Celtic cultural symbolism, as well as the steps of the hero 's journey....   [tags: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]

Powerful Essays
1127 words (3.2 pages)

The Celtic Celebration of Samhain and Halloween Essay example

- For this essay I would like to compare and contrast the past and present, in regards to what was once known as the Celtic celebration of Samhain and its present day—somewhat—equivalent, that which is embraced now-a-days in the United States, Halloween. Halloween takes its roots from\the Celtic-pagan celebration called Samhain; although it has also been sculpted by other cultures in the centuries that have past, the Celts are the foundation of the ideas of such a celebration. I would like to establish more of a contrast between the two celebrations: what exists now and here versus what existed then and there....   [tags: Celtic People, Present Holiday]

Powerful Essays
900 words (2.6 pages)

Celtic Culture and the Arts Essay

- Celtic Culture and the Arts The legacy the Celts and their culture have bestowed upon the face of civilization is powerful and enduring. With their rich and intriguing history, and their complex and beautiful beliefs, they have been a great influence in many aspects of present day life, from their art and innovations, to deeply rooted traditions modern humanity still continues to preserve. It is through the examination of the Celtic culture as a whole, from their origins, tool usage and inventions, social systems, judicial systems, to their intricate spiritual beliefs that one is able to draw a strong sense of unity and connection to these mysterious people from whom most every Indo-Europe...   [tags: Celtic Traditions Cultural Artists Essays]

Powerful Essays
4015 words (11.5 pages)

Essay on Women in Celtic Literature

- Most readers of the famed Irish and Welsh tales focus on the male characters and their great feats. Celtic literature, however, features a full complement of female characters that deserve recognition; from warriors and rulers, to helpmates and daughters. These women function as either their own entity, or extensions of their male relations. All play crucial roles in their perspective texts, essentially driving the action of the plot and setting into motion a series of events that affect the male characters....   [tags: Celtic Literature]

Powerful Essays
842 words (2.4 pages)

Celtic Religion, Mythology and Culture Essay

- Celtic Ten children were playing on a beach on a cold and foggy night. When a lost pony appears, the children were enchanted by the beautiful black hide of the pony with skin so smooth it could be a seals skin. They start to walk toward the pony as its mane goes drip, drip, drip because water is cascading down the pony’s mane. Nine of children get on the pony’s back touching the skin that is so cold it could be death. The tenth child unsure of the pony keeps his distance, till the pony chases after him....   [tags: ancient traditions and beliefs]

Powerful Essays
1664 words (4.8 pages)

A Comparative Analysis of Shamanistic healers in Celtic and Native American Cultures

- Many different forms of medicine are currently practiced in the world. In fact, as our text states, “in all cultures, some people have become recognized as having special abilities to treat and diagnose health problems.” (Miller 107) Without argument, phytomedicinal and supernatural healers are two forms of medical treatment that have been around for longer than any other, regardless of culture. It has been estimated that shamanism has been practiced for over ten thousand years (Tyson 3). Native American and Celtic healers are often known as shamans....   [tags: Culture ]

Powerful Essays
1121 words (3.2 pages)

Essay about King Arthur and His Importance in the Medieval Celtic World

- Who was King Arthur, and what was his importance in the medieval Celtic world. While it is possible we may never know the complete answer to either of those questions, according to Thomas Green we can come pretty close to answering the second one. After reading Green’s “The Historicity and Historicisation of Arthur”, the Arthurian sources discussed in the article seem to conclude that a historical personage of Arthur is very unlikely. If pre-Galfridian material, such as the Historia Brittonum and the Annales Cambriae, are read in context as Green argues they should be, and are not methodologically exhausted by looking for evidence, then it is possible for the reader of these texts to truly g...   [tags: British History]

Powerful Essays
729 words (2.1 pages)

Dream Analysis: The Celtic Army Essay

- I had a dream that I was in the time period when there was only swords and shields, (but none of those advanced automatic weapons that we have now). In that time period, I woke up in my bunk remembering that I am an active duty Major in King Ajihad's Army known as the Celtic Army. I also remembered that I was the only person who was half-human and half-elf except my brother, which was the same as me, but was two years younger than me. In the army I commanded a six-person unit; three men and three women (seven people in all if you include me)....   [tags: blue celtic dragons, china]

Powerful Essays
857 words (2.4 pages)

Celtic Life Essay

- Upon hearing the term ‘Celtic,’ the first things that come to mind are the awe of their intricately patterned jewelry, lively music, and the flowing tunics they wore. These people are also known for being fierce warriors and for their superstitious, nature-centered religion. Celtic customs are still alive and well in places like Ireland and the western reaches of Britain, but within this essay I shall explore their origins and traditions. To start off, I will address the Tumulus peoples. They were among the growing number of societies whom spoke dialects that branched off of Indo-European; a language originating in, and spread from, the border between the continents of Asia and Europe....   [tags: Culture ]

Powerful Essays
1112 words (3.2 pages)

Heroes of Celtic and Germanic Mythology Essay

- Heroes of Celtic and Germanic Mythology Throughout the myths of the Celtic and Germanic peoples of northern Europe tales of epic heroes and their extraordinary deeds abound. These tales depict heroes performing a variety of incredible feats; many of which appear to be magical, superhuman, and, quite honestly, utterly impossible (e.g., wading across oceans, defeating armies virtually single-handedly, and other astounding exploits). Since the Celtic and Germanic tribes of antiquity inhabited neighboring lands and lived in close proximity to one another (as many of their modern descendants continue to do: i.e., in Great Britain), it is not surprising that they often established intimate rela...   [tags: Celtic Germanic Mythology Beowulf Essays]

Powerful Essays
3690 words (10.5 pages)